Friday, May 09, 2014

My Last Post on Monica Lewinsky

Partly because I didn't follow the events when they happened, but partly because others have written the more interesting stuff.

But there's a lesson to be learned from the "Monica Lewinsky scandal," beginning with the fact that it was called that and not the "Bill Clinton scandal."  Such "love or sex triangles" do not have equal sides, in terms of negative consequences, and neither did this one.

If I had to make an uninformed judgment I'd say that Lewinsky's life and career have truly suffered from what happened, but Bill Clinton's life and career have not.  His approval numbers went up with the impeachment attempts, his career didn't suffer and he even kept his marriage intact.  If anything, his hounddog reputation has enhanced him in some minds.  How much Hillary Clinton might suffer depends, to some small extent, on this latest go-around.

The point is that women do tend to bear the burden of such sex "scandals."   But is it because of our sexual scripts about women's responsibilities for both keeping their husbands sexually sated and for keeping the gate closed in extramarital relationships?  Is it because of that ancient slut-archetype, applied to women who cannot prove that they were forced to have sex?  Or is it, perhaps, that the blame is passed down the hierarchy and because women, on average, stand on lower rungs of that hierarchy they are most likely to be stuck with it?

I also find the way agency seems to have been treated in this case fascinating.  Many of the questions that are raised in the above links to other writings are about Lewinsky's agency.  But the agency of Bill Clinton appears to be treated as something akin to a switch in his hind-brain overwhelming everything else.  Yet he was the person with the most power of all types in this case. 

Why is all this the talk of the week again?  Because of Lewinsky's book, of course, and the timing of that book is most likely based on there still being a likelihood that Hillary Clinton might run for the president of the United States.  I don't grudge Lewinsky the money her book might make, by the way, but much of the political discussion about these events has to do with how to stop Hillary Clinton, not with the questions we appear to be debating. article in the Vanity Fair.  My apologies for the initial mistake.  I have no idea why I thought she had written a book!  Perhaps it's time to stop blogging...